By Melody Vallieu
MIAMI COUNTY — A line of strong storms made their way through the area on Saturday evening.
Numerous thunderstorm and tornado warnings prompted emergency crews to be on alert.
The Duck Drop and Rock Piqua were about to get under way at Lock 9 Park when alerts began to sound around 6:20 p.m. of a tornado warning for the area. Minutes later, Piqua’s tornado sirens began to sound and guests at Lock 9 were ordered to leave the area and take shelter.
In Troy, the annual Festival of Nations event had been underway since early afternoon. Rain forced the cancellation of some events and shortened the latter parts of the events.
The only confirmed damage is to a farm at 5267 Gettysburg-Pitsburg Road, south of the village of Gettysburg in Darke County, where it is believed a tornado actually touched down.
No damage was reported in Champaign County.
Kristen Cassedy, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said trained weather spotters reported spotting funnel clouds, which can lead to a tornado, above the skies in Piqua about 7 p.m. Saturday, however no actual tornado touchdown has been reported.
Cassedy said a NWS team is planning to conduct storm surveys today in eastern Darke County, south of Gettysburg and Bradford, where the farm was damaged, and in northern Delaware County, in the vicinity of Delaware State Park.
Based on eyewitness reports and dual-polarization radar data, it is believed that tornadoes were responsible for the damage in both of these locations, according to the NWS. The National Weather Service ground survey will seek to confirm this and determine details regarding the magnitude and location of damage.
“We will investigate the entire path that the storm traveled,” said Cassedy.
In Darke County, severe weather ripped through, destroying one man’s property, but leaving his house standing.
“First thing coming through my mind … looked like a bomb went off,” said property owner Gene Garber.
A rainbow beamed brightly over the path of destruction Mother Nature left over Gettysburg-Pitsburg Road.
For Garber the damage was devastating.
“Just got a phone call. Came home as quick as I could. It’s mess,” Garber said.
Heavy winds and rains pounded the area destroying his insulation business.
“It’s amazing,” Garber said.
Severe weather overturned his box truck and heavy machinery, ripped his barn to shreds, and demolished crops. His house was left untouched.
Gettysburg Fire Chief Tom Hill said he believes damage is estimated at $60,000-$70,000. Hill was at the Darke County Fair when he got the call.
“The property damage we have is the barn here and the contents, but we have crop damage for about four and a half miles,” Hill siad.
But the chief said it could have been much worse.
“There was no damage to the house. That was good,” Hill said.
“I’m just glad I wasn’t hurt or anybody else wasn’t hurt,” Garber said.
The EMA director was called in to survey all of the damage. No injuries were reported.
— WDTN contributed to this story